Naomi is originally from Los Angeles, California, and first came to Japan when she was nine years old. After several other trips to Japan to visit her relatives, she got her first job teaching in the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program in 1987. She enjoyed teaching so much that she went back to California to get her master’s degree in TESOL at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. When she got her degree, she secured a contract position at a university in Nishinomiya, thinking that she would return to California to find full-time work there. That was 24 years ago, and she is still in Japan!
This is her 11th year teaching full-time at Okayama University in the Center for Liberal Arts and Language Education, where she and her colleagues teach general English courses to all of the first and second-year students. Her research interests include student motivation and learner autonomy.
She has been an active JALT member for over 20 years. Her first taste of conference planning came in 1996 when it was held in Hiroshima. She took a short break from JALT activities to focus on her family for a few years after that, but returned in 2005 and has been involved with conference planning ever since.